Necessary Evils in Map Printing: Don’t Let File Prep Bite You

Arquivo em: Map Printing / September 22, 2017

map printingProper file prep prevents problems and delays. No one enjoys it. Digging into your file to circumnavigate printing issues takes away that, ‘I’ve finally done it’ feeling. But proper and thorough file prep is a ‘must-do’ part of the map printing process. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of things get overlooked in the effort to get a job out the door. Even worse, the minutes you save now could cost you some serious delays later. What are you missing??


The Top Map Printing File Prep Issues We Encounter Are…

  • Missing/incorrect fonts.
  • Files defined in the wrong color (RGB vs CMYK).
  • Missing graphics.
  • Graphics not linked correctly.
  • Scans/images in the wrong file format.
  • Scans/images of improper resolution for printing.
  • Incorrect page setup/settings.
  • Incorrect or overlooked trapping, bleeds, and trim lines.
  • Missing proofs (approved printed copies of your work).


How Can You Prepare Digital Files Successfully?

Performing these integral digital file prep steps can save you time and money.

  1. Proof it. Then phone a friend.
    Completing proofing yourself is great – but you’ve been looking at this project too long. A trusted friend/associate will more easily pick-up on overlooked items – like that mix-up of the Rockies with the Appalachians, and the ‘P’ missing in Mississippi.
  2. Don’t assume it’s all included.
    Before you send-off your file, double-check you’ve included…

    • Fonts
      Fonts are one of the biggest issues with map files. Include all file fonts – screen and printer fonts, including those used in placed graphics. Avoid TrueType fonts in favor of Type 1 Adobe fonts to circumvent issues. If you outline fonts DO NOT overwrite your digital file – save it separately – or there’s no going back to edit typos. (Ditto with flattening layers.)
    • Artwork
      Link to – do not embed or paste – art into your file, supplying each piece of art used in your map separately. Name linked files uniquely, deleting extraneous files to eliminate confusion. Ensure sufficient image resolution: XXX DPI offers the best quality. (Do not increase resolution in PhotoShop, which degrades quality.)
    • Colors
      In your file(s), use the same color(s) in text, graphics and photos you will use for printing. If you want Pantone 354, do not choose ‘green,’ choose PMS 354. CP and UP refer to coated or uncoated paper, and should match your substrate. Delete ALL unused colors to avoid paying for unnecessary plates.
    • Bleeds
      Artwork that is not white on all 4-sides should include bleeds extending 1/8” beyond page borders.
    • Crop Marks
      Indicate on all four corners where the document should be trimmed.
    • File Types
      PDF files, set to actual trim size, are the industry standard, as these include necessary files. Please contact us about other options.
    • Backup
      This stays with you, but it’s imperative. ALWAYS save at least one copy of your digital files. (Anything can happen. Protect your hard work.)
  3. Realize the only ‘silly’ question is the one you don’t ask.
    A bleed is not the spot you left on the proof from a papercut. Trapping is not how you get your supervisor to sign off on the proof. At MapPrinter, we know at some point or another, new cartographers enters the arena. Your success is our success. If you don’t understand something, please call us BEFORE you create/adjust your file.


Take a bite out of map printing problems. Pave the way for amazing results with the expert advice of MapPrinter. Contact us about your upcoming project today.